By PVSchools

During the school year, special education students showcase their athletic abilities and team building skills by becoming members of the PV Roadrunners team, Special Olympics Arizona delegation. The Special Olympics program provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports.

Currently, the PV Roadrunners team has 102 student-athletes and is lead by Katie Pena, the dean of students at Horizon High School. Special Education students who are at least 7 years-old are able to participate on the PV Roadrunners team. “The best part of Special Olympics is that athletes cannot age out. We have current PV students, as well as graduates participate, which really creates a strong sense of community. All sports have practices and competitions where athletes compete with other athletes of equal ability. Assessments are done during practices to ensure competitors are evenly matched,” said Ms. Pena.

Students can participate in the following sports Swim, Bowling, Soccer, Flag football, Basketball, and Track and Field. Ms. Pena is working on a partnership with Cave Creek Unified School District and North Valley Unified School District to provide athletes the opportunity to participate in other sports and help grow our program. Students can now compete in Golf and Alpine Skiing with the other districts.

By participating in the sports, students are able to set a lifelong passion for athletics. For many students, this is their first opportunity to compete and be a part of a team. “The best part about working with Special Olympics is getting the chance to interact with people of different abilities, seeing them overcome obstacles, and be successful,” she said.

As the Head of Delegation for the PV Roadrunners team, Ms. Pena not only does the behind the scenes work, but she also coaches during practices and competitions. “I have the opportunity to work with a great group of volunteer coaches in each sport. Without their help, I wouldn’t be able to run our program,” said Ms. Pena.

Any students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) can participate as long as they are at least 7 years-old. If your child would like to participate, email Katie Pena at [email protected] for more information. If you’d like to volunteer to help during practices and competitions, background checks and training are offered by the Special Olympics of Arizona at no cost. You can also make a tax credit contribution to the program that will be used to purchase uniforms and equipment.

The Special Olympics program in PVSchools was started in 1991 by Bob Halt and Randy Walker.